the show

Eye-Popping Pond Plants

air date: May 20, 2017

Even a small pond is such a stress-soother! Check out the latest pond plants, fertilizer tips and algae control with Steve Kainer from Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery. Daphne checks out persimmon tree galls and explains what they’re doing. Plant of the Week, silvery Euphorbia rigida, delightfully textures a container or well-drained bed. John takes on mosquito season with controls for the little suckers



Episode Segments

On Tour

Pond Habitat from Swimming Pool | Irene Anderson

Tired of dealing with a swimming pool? See how this family turned their Wimberley pool into a native habitat pond. Irene Anderson and husband John McMillan worked with their children to transform a chemical maintenance-hound into a natural home for wildlife of all kinds. Irene, partner with her son Chris Smartt at Sol’stice Garden Expressions in Dripping Springs, planted its borders with native and adapted drought-tough plants to attract even more wildlife. Chris sprinkles hand-made art throughout to enhance the total outdoor experience all year.

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Question of the Week

What is this growth on Texas persimmon?

Thanks to Kim Johnson for this question about her Texas persimmons! Last fall, blisters appeared on the leaves of her young persimmon tree. She’s tried spraying with water and insecticidal soap, but the blisters remain, and now some of the new growth has them. What is it and what can she  do about it?

Well, Kim, these are persimmon leaf galls, which are caused by a mite, which lays its eggs on the leaves, causing the plant to react by producing those blister-like cysts on the surface. Since the leaf tissue surrounds and protects the young mites, spraying with any sort of product won’t have any effect, so there’s no need to waste your time or money.

While the mites definitely aren’t the best thing for the plant’s healthy growth and development, they usually aren’t more than a nuisance and the plant recovers. Because your tree is so young, with so few leaves, it’s a bit more of a problem, simply because the plant doesn’t have as many leaves to compensate for the issue.

But ultimately, as the tree gets larger, the problem will be less of an issue. Most times mites and other gall-making insects are cyclical problems, often with many years of non-infection between problem years.

Texas persimmons are tough, and my bet is that your tree will overcome this setback. Treat the plant the way you would if it were completely healthy, and the problem should right itself within a few seasons; hopefully sooner!


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Plant of the Week

Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’

Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’

This euphorbia is another example of a trademarked cultivar, introduced by Proven Winners. This delicate looking little plant is actually quite tough and usually deer resistant. 'Diamond Frost' blooms reliably with small white flowers from late spring until the first freeze. It's a wonderful low-growing plant (12 -18? tall and wide) to brighten up those partly shady areas. It doesn't need pruning and insects are not a problem. Generally good soil and some water are all it needs. Plant in groups for a standout show of continual flowers on very tidy plants. But this is where we must adapt the plant tag to grueling Central Texas sun. Although the tag says 'Full sun to part shade,' for us 'Diamond Frost' should be planted in bright, filtered light, or light shade. Receiving morning sun should also be okay. If planted in shade, 'Diamond Frost' requires little supplemental irrigation, but do be careful not to let it dry out. In normal years, it's pretty drought tough. Its plant tag lists it as an annual except in zones 10 - 11. But in mulched, protected niches near the house with other plants to warm it, it may be fine in our winters. Generally, it is an annual that we can plant again after the last frost for many months of blooms.